National Newswatch

How the Trudeau Liberals stumbled into a fight with religious groups

Feb 2 2018 — John Geddes — This can’t be the fight the Liberal government thought it was picking. Late last year, Employment and Social Development Canada posted an updated application form for the annual Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program on its website. It contained a new wrinkle: groups applying for funding would have to “attest” that their “core mandate” respects certain […]

Could the Trudeau government change Canada’s extradition law?

Jan 17 2018 — John Geddes — Back in Canada after being held for three years in a French prison on terrorism charges that were finally dropped for lack of evidence, Hassan Diab said today that he doesn’t want a penny in compensation for his ordeal, but asked for a review of the “lousy law” that saw him extradited to France in […]

Who is Michael Wolfson?

Dec 13 2017 — John Geddes — How a one-time draft dodger and longtime data guru landed at the centre of the small-business tax war, the bitterest policy scrap in Canadian politics in 2017. At about the midpoint of the 2015 federal election campaign, in an interview with CBC’s Peter Mansbridge, Justin Trudeau hinted that his Liberals were prepared to cut the […]

Andrew Scheer’s Everyman image won’t be enough to beat Justin Trudeau

Dec 13 2017 — John Geddes — Andrew Scheer leaves no room for doubt about how he hopes Canadian voters see him. On the night of his upset win last spring in the Conservative leadership race, Scheer derided Justin Trudeau’s Liberals as a club for “connected Ottawa insiders,” while touting his Tories as the party of, quite simply, “taxpayers.” More recently, in […]

Andrew Scheer of the suburbs vs Justin Trudeau and his throngs

Nov 15 2017 — John Geddes — The new Conservative ad that shows Andrew Scheer wandering through a suburban idyll—folks perched on freshly painted park benches hailing him, desirable three-bedroom backsplits in the background—gets across a lot in a succinct 30 seconds. “Conservatives want to see every Canadian prosper,” the Tory leader says, neatly summing up the message “I’m Andrew Scheer” is […]

Justin Trudeau’s mid-life crisis

Nov 9 2017 — John Geddes — Serving in Justin Trudeau’s cabinet looked, at the outset, quite literally like a walk in the park. Images of the lucky chosen strolling in all their gender-balanced, ethnically diverse glory up Rideau Hall’s tree-lined lane to be sworn in on Nov. 4, 2015, has lasted as the iconic, bucolic image of this Liberal government’s beginnings.

Andrew Scheer’s victory speech takes aim at Trudeau

May 27 2017 — John Geddes — Saskatchewan MP Andrew Scheer used his victory speech at the Conservative leadership convention in Toronto this evening to implore his party to unite behind him, while painting a dark vision of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government bringing “pain and hardship to Canadians.”

Canada’s last lines of defence against populism

Mar 7 2017 — John Geddes — A week after Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States last Nov. 8, Conservative MP Ted Falk rose in the House of Commons during the time set aside for “members’ statements,” which falls just before question period and is, as a rule, politely ignored. Falk represents the Manitoba riding of Provencher, hard by […]

Trudeau’s zeal for electoral reform fell with his own electoral success

Feb 2 2017 — John Geddes — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s about-face today on electoral reform is such a blatant breaking of an unambiguous campaign commitment that it’s tempting to speculate he never meant to keep this promise all along. What’s more likely to have happened, though, isn’t that Trudeau knowingly lied from the start, but that he conveniently lost enthusiasm for […]

How the Trudeau government is bracing for Trump

Jan 20 2017 — John Geddes — The federal government is working to exploit contacts and push shared interests as many wonder if the PM and the president will hit it off. Back in the fall of 1984, less than a month after he was elected prime minister, Brian Mulroney met with then-U.S. president Ronald Reagan at the White House. To help […]

Kevin O’Leary’s campaign got rolling over lunch

Jan 16 2017 — John Geddes — How the reality TV star shifted from flirting with a Tory leadership bid to organizing the real deal. When Kevin O’Leary popped up on Facebook late last week to nearly, almost, not quite declare his bid for the federal Conservative leadership, close watchers of Canadian politics must have been thinking, “Get on with it, Mr. […]

Was Maryam Monsef ‘demoted’ in Trudeau’s cabinet shuffle?

Jan 12 2017 — John Geddes — The debate over whether or not it’s fair to say Maryam Monsef was “demoted” when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made her minister of status of women earlier this week, removing her from the Democratic Institutions portfolio, is largely missing the point. The admittedly subjective business of assessing the relative importance of cabinet positions isn’t based […]

Charlie Angus comes in from the cold

Jan 9 2017 — John Geddes — In a TV interview from MuchMusic back in 1983, members of the punk band L’Etranger talk earnestly, on the front porch of a downtown Toronto house, about the left-wing causes they champion in their songs. “The question always comes up: ‘Why do you sing about apartheid? Why do you sing about this, why do you […]